Your health, happiness, and job depend on it… When was the last time you Played? I’m not talking about when you were five years old swinging in the playground. As an adult, do you ever play? Research has shown that without more play in our lives our innovation, health, and relationships crash. And guess what? Play is good for business. Really good. At Google, all employees have access to and can play during their workday. They have all sorts of activities like bowling, meditation, wall climbing, volleyball and more. Dr. Brown, the founder of the National Institute for Play, states, “when employees have the opportunity to play, they actually increase their productivity, engagement and morale. These are great reason to up the play in your work environment (maybe even in place of your regular meetings?)
Not only does play increase morale but also improves your innovation. Doctor KH Kim, a Professor of Creativity and Innovation has researched the topic for over 20 years and identified that “playfulness” as one of the most common characteristics of world famous innovators. Kim argues that the pure structure of our current work environments can stifle our thinking and with more play, we can access out-of-the-box thinking and therefore find better solutions than using logic alone.
Beyond innovation, Play can relieve stress by releasing endorphins, improve relationships and connections with others. Play is often a state of mind, improves brain function especially during a game, stimulate the mind and boost creativity. In Jane McGonigal’s book Super Better she shares research that found playing the game Tetris was as beneficial as Morphine when it comes to pain relief. Yes just playing a game! Her research further demonstrates how games can help solve problems, manage stress and improve the quality of life. These are powerful results and come from having fun.
Play is singing, dancing, games, laughter, drawing and even doodling! Research shows that “doodles are not just random scribbles; they actually reveal what is going on in your unconscious. Like the way an EEG transmits brain activity to a piece of paper, doodles, says Burns, communicate via your hand what is going on in your brain.” Next time you are in a meeting, don’t feel guilty about doodling- in fact science encourages it!
One study proved that telling jokes at work increased humor patterns, triggered positive socioemotional communication, procedural structure, and new solutions amongst the entire team. All of the research shows that play can boost our mood and makes us more inventive. Do your employees laugh enough?
Play is for Productivity:
No Matter how you incorporate play into your life, it’s important for both yourself and your business. It will increase your productivity, decrease your sick days and allow you to come up with better solutions. For ideas, check out this list by Creativity Post on how you can incorporate more play into your life. Send me an email and tell me your favorite way to play and have you ever come up with a new idea or innovation as a result? Email me at [email protected]
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Originally published at carriedclarke.com